This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
They begin walking ahead to finish the second phase of day one trek and reach to the campsite. Abhinav asks Arpit, Madhu and Swami to go ahead and join the group; he will come along with Niket. Niket has got cold feet – he is wondering why is he the only person getting out of breath quite often. His practice to get fit doesn’t seem effective now. A doubt keeps bugging him – will I be able to make it?
As they walk ahead, Niket gets engulfed in his self doubts – his panic slows them down further; he often takes breaks to drink water. Niket doesn’t seem peppy at all in this moment, Abhinav wonders. He is confident Niket is going to make it and have fun in the trek. Rajiv and Prachi cross them with Vivian. They are now officially last on the trail.
Worried for spoiling the fun for Abhinav, Niket asks him to proceed ahead. Abhinav is adamant to make it through together. ‘We have come here to enjoy the beauty of nature, not to keep on hurrying ahead. Those who reach the campsite have nothing else to do but to wait for others.’
As they walk for another hour or so, Abhinav catches up on Niket’s life – he is excited to meet Siddhi. Abhinav talks about how he went to Bayreuth and got into auto motive engineering – he talks about it extremely passionately. Niket wants to ask him many other things, but right now is not the time; he has to focus on making it to the campsite.
Arpit, Swami and Madhu have reached the campsite. Chris and Sara are tanning themselves in the sun, Nisha is reading a book, some are walking around feeling the grass with their bare feet, some are collecting their sleeping bags from the dining tent. They put their bags in the available tents and sit down to have some snacks along with others. The bhajias are hot and tasty. Today is the only day on the trek where they camp at 11,500 feet and not by any lake. As everyone finishes snacks, they huddle up to play mafia; Raunak explains the rules and plays the role of God. Everyone has reached the campsite, except Vivian, Niket, Abhinav, Rajiv and Prachi. Dashodh goes back in order to find them.
They are thirty minutes away from the camp site. They have almost lost sight of Prachi, Rajiv and Vivian as they take a turn ahead. Niket is observing his breath – he is inhaling deeply and exhaling through mouth as was taught by his fitness trainer. But it seems ineffective. He mixes electoral powder in his bottle and starts taking small sips. More than being afraid, he is ashamed about not preparing well for the trek. In a fit of frustration, he suddenly lays on the meadows – his body is aching. As he closes his eyes, he enters into an oblivion – a lot of thoughts grip him; you’ll never be able to do it – stick to what you are good at, don’t try new things – lets get back home. Another thought comes up – you’re going to have an amazing trip and are going to do fine on the trek. Stop over analysing.
He gets up and starts walking again, this time with a renewed confidence; he is going to make it at a pace his body supports him and is fine with others walking ahead. The walk now seems enjoyable in Abhinav’s company. They are discussing how their other batchmates are doing. Dashodh finds them and keeps Niket occupied with various questions. They reach the campsite and Dashodh pats Niket’s back – ‘Shabaash, Shabaash!’
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